CyberStormby Published 23 Mar 2013
Sometimes the worst storms aren't caused by Mother Nature, and sometimes the worst nightmares aren't in the ones in our heads...
Mike Mitchell, an average New Yorker already struggling to keep his family together, suddenly finds himself fighting just to keep them alive when an increasingly bizarre string of disasters start appearing on the world’s news networks. As the world and cyberworlds come crashing down, bending perception and reality, a monster snowstorm cuts New York off from the world, becoming a wintry tomb where no one can be trusted, and nothing is what it seems...
CyberStorm is a techno-thriller set in present-day New York City that will appeal to fans of Michael Chichton and Tom Clancy as well as devotees of William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. It is an exploration of the human condition as the cyberworld collides with our own, a compelling portrait of a possible future that is all too terrifyingly real.
Though there were some very interesting ideas here I think the character development and the writing were pretty painful. I think this might be an author overcompensating in cloying drama via story telling for what he seems to have available in strong research and concepts. Half of this book could have been news reports or journal entries and we would have gotten the same information without the crap. I worked hard to stick with it because I love the genre and I know some real interesting concepts are tucked in there, unfortunately the back and forth between the characters was so damn tedious I found myself wishing for more violent death. Generally, I don't appreciate stereotypical characters and I certainly don't like the prepared survivalist who just happens to have everything. It's a waste of good plot development and critical problem solving. Women don't always want to argue to give away supplies or avoid violence and men don't always want to save their own. If half of your characters are just vehicles for moral, political or technological arguments you've got a dumb ass supporting cast. Remove the characters stupid little lives and their ridiculous moralizing every other page and we'd have the makings of a good book.
This book has so much going for it on so many levels, I'm at a a loss where to start.
First off, it's a very well-written disaster story so if you love catastrophe flicks and novels, you'll absolutely love Cyberstorm. But that's not what's important. The author fills the book with so much love and understanding it raises the genre to a totally new level.
Basically, Cyberstorm answers one sole question: what would become of our minds and souls in case of a major catastrophe? How long can we preserve our spirit and neighborly feelings? I could tell almost immediately that the author drew much of his research and inspiration from the second-world-war disaster of the siege of Leningrad in 1941-1944. He portrays the frozen landscape of a major city devoid of heating, food, water, warm clothing, electricity, plumbing and communications and lets his characters show their best side.
Yes, this is what I loved about Cyberstorm - the heroes' courage and spirit. This is exactly what raises it above all other disaster stories. The book proved to be absolutely "unputdownable" - when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about the heroes and their future. Definitely a genre milestone.
The writing style made what could have been a good story somewhat frustrating. I felt like Mr Mather was writing a movie, not a book. There were a few times I was tempted to stop reading, as the coincidences kept piling up, a couple times making me literally groan out loud. Near the end, it seemed like he just wanted to get it over with, and it felt like it ended fairly abruptly. I'm glad I finished it, but still won't be recommending it to anyone.
This was a complete waste of time. While the main storyline had a hint of originality, the execution was amateurish ("you blew cousin Henry's ear right off") and rather than make an attempt at writing his way out of situations, he used flashforwards to resolve huge pieces of the plot. By the end I felt like I was reading a creative writing assignment from a continuing education class. Zero stars would have been more accurate.
4.5 stars. This was a great little Indie techno-thriller that I thought also qualified for the horror genre. Just substitute zombie with cyber-attack and you have a frightening scenario for a post-apocalyptic type of storyline. Bad things happen.
I enjoyed this from start to finish. Highly recommended.